A pristine blanket of snow added to the eerily beautiful aura students created at Providence’s Grace Church Cemetery last weekend. Called SouthLight, their temporary installation was the culmination of Elettra Bordonaro’s Urban Interventions Wintersession studio.
Neighbors, community activists and artists alike heeded the visiting artist’s instructions to “follow the light” through the 1850s-era cemetery, stopping to read highlighted headstones (including those of fallen World War II fighter pilot William Armstrong and African-American opera singer Sissieretta Jones) and to gaze up at the beautifully blue-lit branches of the trees.
Visitors were welcomed into the historic cemetery gatehouse for hot cocoa and coffee and invited to share their ideas for how to permanently improve the site. “We live across the street and would love to grow flowers inside the cemetery gates,” one young couple offered. Members of Stop Wasting Abandoned Property (SWAP) – a local nonprofit that has developed multiple properties in the neighborhood – are hoping that the weekend installation will draw attention to the site and reinvigorate their plan to form a neighborhood committee to keep the cemetery safe and clean.